Indoor Air Quality, Thermal Comfort & Daylight

An analysis of housing regulations in 8 Member States

This report examines housing requirements in eight selected Member States of the European Union in relation to indoor air quality, thermal comfort and daylight, increasingly important issues for European buildings and their occupants.

The aim of the report is to provide an overview of the current regulatory framework for the above issues, while at the same time emphasising the importance of having appropriate specifications for the conditions of thermal comfort, ventilation, and daylight. The report presents proposals for the further development of policies relating to indoor climate.

The review focuses on building regulations for new and existing residential buildings in selected Member States, which are Belgium (Brussels-Capital Region), Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden, and United Kingdom (England and Wales).

A critical and comparative evaluation is carried out and special emphasis is placed on the best practices identified.

Between 30% and 50% of deaths during the winter can be attributed to extremely low indoor temperatures, proving the importance of indoor thermal comfort and its association with the phenomenon of energy poverty. Thermal comfort, indoor air quality and daylight are key factors in ensuring good conditions for the occupants of a building. However, in the eight countries studied, the requirements for indoor air quality and thermal comfort are neither complete nor sufficiently clear. The European Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) highlights legislative gaps to ensure that European citizens live in high-performance, healthy, comfortable, and well-lit buildings. Given the fact that people spend 60% to 90% of their lives inside buildings, this issue must be made a top legislative priority.

At European Union level, although indoor climate conditions are mentioned in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), the importance of indoor air quality, thermal comfort and daylight needs to be future recast. These aspects could be incorporated into the energy certification process as information about the actual living conditions in the building. The combined benefits of thermal comfort and a healthy indoor environment must be considered when assessing the macroeconomic impact of energy renovation measures (e.g., reducing the cost of health services). These requirements should also be incorporated into the national renewal strategies developed under Articles 4 and 5 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED).

This is the introductory text, published by BPIE and concerns the report on “Indoor air quality, thermal comfort and daylight”.

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